According to the newsfolks, it’s time to baton the hatches, put on the galoshes and head inside for the first storm of the season. And after our dry few years, we’re ready for it. But I thought I’d take this time, while we are enjoying the indoors to reflect on the good things about this past growing season. Sure we were full of disappointments this year, but our tomatoes…our tomatoes were a huge success. Oh sure, at first I complained about how they weren’t turning red, but once they did, they came on in full force.
This year we limited ourselves to five plants, Better Boy, Consoluto Fiorentino, Italian Heirloom (generic name, isn’t it?), Big Rainbow and a Sweet 100. We also had a spare volunteer cherry tomato that has been sprawling along the ground with the melons too. All five plants that we planted were incredibly happy this year and all pulled their weight as heavy producers. Better Boy hit the ground running at the begining of the season and Big Rainbow has been pulling in the tail end of the season with baskets full of orange goodness.
Our Sweet 100 even reached the top of the 10 foot cage…way to go little plant!
We’ve made about 10 pints of canned sauce and have another handful of portions frozen in the freezer. Plus I dehydrated the Sweet 100’s this year and have about 2 cups of those in the pantry. We should be plenty supplied well into the winter with our own spaghetti sauce.
So tell me, what was your biggest garden success this past summer?
Our tomatoes have started to turn red now and are slowly trickling onto the counter top to be incorporated into our daily meals. Right now I’m fascinated by this variety, Constoluto Fiorentino:
I can’t say that it’s a very practical tomato. You can’t slice them for sandwiches all that well and even chopping them is a creative task, but sometimes garden fare needs to go beyond practical and just be beautiful.
It’s been a cool summer this year which has not been so beneficial to our garden. Not that I am complaining at all, we are not hot weather folks, but surely I can say that we would very much appreciate a ripe tomato. Just one big one for our first official BLT. Or maybe a small cherry just to snack on during our mid garden walk. Something! Our tomato plants are all doing well, towering over our heads in some cases and are full of tomatoes. But all of them are green without even a slight hint of red. Maybe these two days of heat will help. Hopefully. How are your tomatoes doing this year? I hear that if you are in New England things aren’t going so well.
It’s official, the Brandywines are ripe and it’s BLT season. We had our first one last week and it was divine! There’s a lot of talk about choosing the perfect tomato for a BLT. And of course if you aren’t already growing some, you pick out a nice head of organic lettuce, but you can’t just pick up a pack of cheap old Farmer Johns bacon. Oh no, you’ve got to find some really good bacon.
Well, last year we did a 12 month intensive search for the perfect bacon, by way of the Bacon of the Month Club, and we’ve found the perfect BLT bacon. We really liked using a pepper bacon, because it adds a nice spiciness. However, it can’t be too spicy because that distracts. And you don’t want a really smokey bacon, because, well, that’s just too smokey. But Hempler’s pepper bacon is perfect. It’s just the right mix of smoky, peppery, meaty, crispy goodness for your BLT. You can order it online here. And if you are feeling really indulgent, you too should try a full year of the Bacon of the Month Club. It’s great fun to have bacon delievered to your door each month.
We ate our first tomato this weekend. A San Marzano. Not this one above, but a different one, one without blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is something we seem to struggle with every year. Especially and almost exclusively with the San Marzanos. It’s caused by the plant not getting enough calcium. We already knew that we didn’t have enough calcium in our soil due to our home diagnosed weed problems, but it seems like adding that liquid calcium didn’t do enough to prevent blossom end rot entirely. It’s not affecting every tomato, just some, but its there.
One reason is that plants aren’t able to absorb calcium is by infrequent and inconsistent watering. I don’t think that’s our problem. We do water on a regular basis, about once a week. And it’s a deep watering since we do our drainage pipe method.
Is anyone else dealing with blossom end rot? You Grow Girl did a great post about this last week.
This next problem is a mystery to us and maybe you can help us.
It’s this spotting that’s happening on our nectarines. It’s on the vast majority of nectarines, no matter if they are in the sun or shaded by the leaves. It’s edible, we eat right through it, but it makes them kind of funky looking. Does anyone know what it is?
It’s amazing what a few days will do. Our little San Marzano is getting so big and look, he has brothers!
The cucumbers (both lemon and japanese) and getting there and the beans are happy and growing. (oh and that’s Bo, our cat, in the background looking for bugs to catch).
Oh, and remember how I wrote that although these portofino zucchini’s were planted at different times, they had all caught up in size? Well, the one we grew earlier from seed is blossoming earlier, so there you are, it IS worth it to start earlier after all. Below is it’s neighbor who’s seed was planted about four weeks later: